retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday posted new regulations mandating that meatpackers use labels that inform consumers where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to the Post, the mandates "are the latest move in a trade dispute that has pitted U.S. consumer groups, which favor the labels, against free trade advocates, who say the regulations are biased against cattle and pork from Canada and Mexico.

"Nor are the regulations likely to be the last word in the international controversy, which seems destined to wind up - again - before the World Trade Organization, which has previously ruled that U.S. labeling regulations discriminated against Canadian and Mexican livestock."

The USDA says that the new regulations comply with WTO regulations.

"The United States estimates that more than 2,800 livestock processing and slaughtering companies, 38 chicken processing companies and about 4,300 retailers will be affected by the new rules," the Post reports. "Officials estimated the cost of implementing the rules at $33 million."
KC's View:
I understand the WTO concerns, but it is swimming against the currents if it thinks that less transparency is a good thing. Not that it should be a huge surprise that a governmental entity would be against transparency.